By DaiJhah Owens
When joining The Pedestal Project team, I knew I wanted to center my blog writings on political empowerment and education for the black community, more specifically black women. I knew most of my topics would not be as lighthearted as others. I wanted to discuss real political and social issues that affect black women. I also promised myself, that no matter what the issue was, I never wanted to directly discuss the current U.S. president in my writings. I didn’t feel like he deserved the energy it would take to write about him. Although I discuss serious issues, I always want to protect the energy and space of our readers; discussing the president would taint my ability to do so.
I am about to break the promise I made to myself, somewhat. Over the month of July, the president has launched numerous racist attacks on women of color and black women in congress, and more recently, a black male House Representative from Maryland, Elijah Cummings. These attacks do not come as a surprise because this is his norm. What is surprising is how flabbergasted people were that the leader of the “free world” would conduct himself in such a manner–after all, racism ended with the Obama presidencies, right? WRONG!
I’ll make this as plain as possible. The current president is a physical representation of everything America has ever been to anyone who is not white! I know, I know, there’s no way America is still racist. We had a black president! Blah, Blah, Blah. If you have read any of my previous blogs, I always link the current political issues back to the failing systems that govern us, and this issue is no different. President Obama simply operated within the constraints of the already oppressive systems in place; he did not dismantle them. Therefore no true systemic change was brought forth. Was the election of Obama monumental? Of course! But his being elected into office had no power over the deeply rooted hatred this country was founded on. The current president proves that.
I am thankful for the current U.S. president because he brought with him a reckoning that Americans weren’t ready for. Slavery ended, check! Jim Crow Era is over, check! Black President, check! America felt it had done its due diligence at addressing our hateful past, but we hadn’t even scratched the surface. We were never a “post-racial” society. We were an “ignore what black people say and experience because it doesn’t affect me” society.
For some, this is hard to grapple with. Some truly believed we had moved on from our racist past and had entered into a land of peace between different races. Racism was now just reserved for “crazy” white men in white hoods. This couldn’t be further from the truth, but like most things in our country, it took a rich white man to validate it for us.
I usually try to end my blogs with a call to action, a positive but tough love one liner. Not this time though. What more is there to say to our country, that hasn’t already been said before?
DaiJhah Owens is a Contributing Writer for the Pedestal Project, LLC. DaiJhah is passionate about shifting political power to oppressed groups through education. She believes there is nothing more powerful than an educated black woman who can smell political BS a mile away! Connect with her on Instagram at @d_nakhole!